Al­berta teacher de­tained over visa

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The third Cana­dian de­tained by Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties in re­cent weeks is an Al­berta woman who was taken into cus­tody due to visa com­pli­ca­tions and ar­range­ments were be­ing made for her to re­turn to Canada, mul­ti­ple sources said Wed­nes­day.Sarah Mciver, de­scribed by those who know her as “bub­bly” and “ap­proach­able,” had been teach­ing at a school in China when she was de­tained, sources told the Post. The in­ci­dent left fam­ily mem­bers back in south­ern Al­berta trau­ma­tized and scram­bling to reach out to Cana­dian of­fi­cials for as­sis­tance af­ter con­firm­ing what city she was in from an ex-boyfriend.Mciver’s safe re­turn would defuse what would have put ad­di­tional strain on an al­ready tense re­la­tion­ship be­tween Canada and China, which was shaken by Canada’s ar­rest of a Chi­nese tech ex­ec­u­tive Dec. 1. One per­son said Mciver was ex­pected to be re­turned be­fore the new year. How­ever, of- fi­cials at Global Af­fairs Canada did not con­firm a time­line, and the sit­u­a­tion could re­main un­re­solved.Canada ar­rested Huawei Tech­nolo­gies’ Meng Wanzhou, the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of the firm and daugh­ter of the com­pany’s founder, for ex­tra­di­tion at the re­quest of the U.S.The ar­rest set off a string of heated ver­bal re­but­tals from Chi­nese gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, who likened it to “ba­si­cally kid­nap­ping.” In the fol­low­ing weeks, two Cana­dian cit­i­zens — Cal­gary-born en­tre­pre­neur Michael Spa­vor and for­mer Cana­dian diplo­mat Michael Kovrig — were de­tained by Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties, lead­ing to broader ques­tions about whether China would carry out fur­ther ar­rests in re­tal­i­a­tion against Canada.Mciver had pre­vi­ously gone abroad to pur­sue teach­ing in South Korea and Malaysia. She spent this past summer back in Al­berta work­ing at a Red Deer fur­ni­ture store where she had pre­vi­ously worked for a cou­ple years, be­fore pack­ing up again — this time for China, ac­cord­ing to a store man­ager.How­ever, when Mciver ar­rived at her des­ti­na­tion, school of­fi­cials in­formed her that her po­si­tion had been given to some­one else. So they made ar­range­ments to trans­fer Mciver to a dif­fer­ent school in an­other city.Mciver had been teach­ing at that other school for a few months — pe­ri­od­i­cally send­ing pic­tures of her young stu­dents to friends back home — when au­thor­i­ties de­tained her, ap­par­ently be­cause she lacked the proper work visa.Sources said she was be­ing treated well and could be flown back to Canada in the com­ing weeks.Fam­ily mem­bers of a Sarah Mciver based in Cal­gary and Drumheller, Alta. ei­ther de­clined to re­spond or did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on Wed­nes­day. Global Af­fairs Canada did not con­firm to the Na­tional Post whether Mciver was the de­tained per­son, cit­ing pri­vacy con­cerns.Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau faced a slew of ques­tions from re­porters on Wed­nes­day as a re­sult of the de­tain­ment, where he sug­gested the case ap­peared not to be con­nected to the Huawei ar­rest.“The first in­di­ca­tions are that this is a very sep­a­rate case to the two oth­ers that oc­curred,” he said.Trudeau said that such dis­cus­sions be­tween coun­tries are in­her­ently frag­ile and need to be ap­proached in a tem­pered way.“When I was in op­po­si­tion, as a leader of the op­po­si­tion, I re­mem­ber stand­ing in the House and chal­leng­ing Mr. Harper to pick up the phone and get this Cana­dian re­leased,” Trudeau said. “I now un­der­stand that it’s al­ways a lot more com­pli­cated than that.”“Some­times politi­ciz­ing or am­pli­fy­ing the level of pub­lic dis­course on this may be sat­is­fy­ing in the short term, but would not con­trib­ute to the out­come we all want,” he said.Con­ser­va­tive MP Erin O’toole told the Cana­dian Press Wed­nes­day that the sit­u­a­tion still raises deeper ques­tions about the safety of Cana­di­ans amid the on­go­ing Canada-china dis­pute.“There’s hun­dreds of Cana­di­ans in one way or an­other work­ing (in China) and is this some­thing that they should worry about — ex­ist­ing visas?” O’toole said. “That’s what’s very dis­con­cert­ing about this ... Cana­di­ans should know if sud­denly visas are go­ing to be pulled and re­viewed and re­con­sid­ered.”The heated re­la­tions come amid U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s mas­sive trade war with China, in which he has threat­ened to place tar­iffs on hun­dreds of bil­lions worth of goods im­ported from the world’s second-largest econ­omy.Kelly Craft, the U.S. am­bas­sador to Canada, de­fended Ot­tawa’s ar­rest ear­lier this month, say­ing there was “ab­so­lutely” no “po­lit­i­cal con­spir­acy” be­hind the move.Huawei is one of the world’s largest de­vel­op­ers of hard­ware and soft­ware tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing cutting-edge mo­bile data net­works.The Trudeau gov­ern­ment has been un­der some pres­sure to bar the com­pany from de­vel­op­ing its 5G net­work in Canada, due to se­cu­rity risks cited by some ex­perts.

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